Directed by: Hyung-rae Shim
Premise: A 500 year old prophecy comes to fruition when the newest incarnation of a pair of Korean warriors combat a magical army of darkness that is populated by dragons and reptilian creatures.
What Works: The special effects of Dragon War are mostly well done. The renderings of the creatures are impressive and the sequences of dragon warriors engaging human military forces in a metropolitan center is on par (and in some places even a little superior) to a similar sequence in this year’s Transformers.
What Doesn’t: As good as the special effects are in most scenes, that is all Dragon War has going for it and even the effects are subpar in places, most notably the corpse of an elephant that is obviously an inflatable. (While fleeing a dragon, one of the characters comes into contact with it and the elephant’s dead “body” moves.) Although the dragon scenes are well done, other action sequences are staged and edited with utter incompetence. The acting of the film is embarrassing to watch, although no actor could do much with the material given to him or her in this film. The story is incredibly stupid, even for the kind of light fantasy adventure that this aims to be, and the myth is so convoluted that even ambitious viewers will find themselves giving up halfway through. The film opens with a voice over explaining the legend (echoing last year’s disastrous dragon picture Eragon) and then tells the back-story of our protagonist in a flashback within a flashback. As the story goes on, the characters learn about some sort of prophecy to be fulfilled, although the details are never made clear to the audience, and they fill their time together with nebulous dialogue about fate and destiny. The mentor figure (Robert Forster) of the film keeps telling our heroes that they must get to some special location to do something that will stop the forces of darkness (although where or what is never clear either) but they never get there. Yet, in the end our heroes are able to conquer the evil forces without following the old man’s advice and instead, the screenwriter invokes a Wizard of Oz cheat. Rather than magical slippers, the amulet the hero wears around his neck for the entire picture solves all of his problems for no apparent reason.
Bottom Line: D-Wars is a complete waste of time and money. It looks as though some effort went into producing all of these special effects, but the effort would have been better spent making a video game, where this might have been more enjoyable. This film can’t even reach the guilty pleasure qualities of Plan 9 from Outer Space or Jaws 3.
Episode: #159 (September 30, 2007)